Yes, you've guessed it - I've spent a day at Mother's (arrgghhh!!) with my newly-widowed aunt, and we've actually had quite a nice day. I think my aunt manages to diffuse the normal family tension a little, which can only be a good thing. Though I do suspect that the older we get, the more we do become terrifyingly like Macbeth's witches. If the rest of the family start losing body parts and there's a cauldron brewing, they will know who to blame ...
Mind you, the journey down (two hours there and three back, thanks to the hold-up at the Dartford Crossing) was hell. Normally Lord H does it and I nap (well, I like to provide wifely support when needed), but I thought this was more of a girls' occasion so went alone. The last hour on the road was the worst - I had to keep telling myself to focus and singing songs to make sure I was still awake. There's something about the dark and the rain and the windscreen wipers that's ridiculously hypnotic.
Three interesting items from the witches' brew:
1. It's rare for a mother to know exactly what their grown-up children or grandchildren actually do for a living. How the Terrible Two long for the days when people were policemen, teachers or secretaries - you knew where you were then. My aunt spent about ten minutes attempting to explain what her eldest does for a living, then gave up and admitted she didn't really have a clue, as jobs are so much more complex these days. This prompted my mother to admit that she's never really had a clue what I do either, but she thinks it's something to do with new students. From there, we went through the entire family, and indeed the whole lot of them are a mystery to us. Much like Chandler in "Friends" - no-one ever knew what he did for a living either, not even Monica. Naturally, I didn't enlighten my mother any further as to myself - I like to keep an aura of mystique. It keeps the wolves at bay.
2. Uncle Leonard died before he could syphen off this year's wine supply (itself something of a long-standing witches' brew), and after much subtle persuasion and eventual wild laughter, we have convinced my aunt that it's better for society if she throws it away. It's a mercy killing, really. And apparently she never liked it much either. Ah, the suffering of wives, eh!
3. My mother will always tell me at some stage during a visit how good red wine is for the heart - even though nobody was drinking it today - and will ask me if she should keep the gravy hot on the stove or put it all in the gravy-boat at once. Bearing in mind that the gravy-boat is always too small for the amount of gravy made, this is a no-brainer. In fact we're thinking of having these conversations when I first turn up to save time and clear the way for other stuff.
Back home, I am attempting to superglue my eyes open and get some editing done tonight. And I wrote a poem yesterday:
swoop through the air
round the house.
We hear them laughing
and follow from window
laughing too -
our day's ungrasped
They leave behind
a scent of mown grass
and one small feather.
And a special thanks to Casdok who has just finished A Dangerous Man and enjoyed it very much - thanks for letting me know, Casdok!
Today's nice things:
1. Surviving the Three Witches' meeting!
3. Casdok's comments.